White space — it helps us breathe

There is a concept in design called “white space.” If you’re a designer, you know the concept well, and you probably love it. White space is the space between elements on a page. It is not always white. It can be green, orange, purple, or whatever other shade or tone. But no matter the color, what white space is all about is the lack of elements. It is the blank space between designed things.

But why would designers love empty space? Why would they praise the “undesigned?”

There is only one answer to this. It is because it gives the design room to breathe. By placing space between elements, the parts themselves rise to the foreground. And therefore, the design components are highlighted. By using white space, the designer can direct the viewer to the essential information.

To the untrained eye, it is easy to look at white space and suggest adding something. Clients do it all the time. Why shouldn’t they add something to the ad, the billboard, or the brochure they paid for? Shouldn’t they maximize the use of real estate? Well, If they want to be effective, the answer is a firm no.

If we start to cover up the white space, lines begin to blur. We lose the hierarchy and often the viewers. If we cover up the area between the elements, the balance is ruined.

White space is the space between the important things. In life, it is the quiet, empty moments in between the busy that help us see the important things more clearly. Like in our design, in life, we also have the urge to cover up the empty spaces with more stuff. We add another activity. We do a little more. But once we cover everything, it becomes hard to breathe, and we lose our balance.

It is the empty space between the elements and activities that helps us see the important parts. We must resist the urge to cover it up with more — both in our designs and in life.

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